Corporates aspiring to go green are joining hands with the website, www.grow-trees.com, which gives individuals and companies the opportunity of gifting a tree to honour someone or in someone’s memory. The portal also issues an electronic certificate if an individual or firm gifts a tree to offset carbon emissions.
The initiative is the only Planting Partner in India recognised by the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP) and WWF Cities for Forest Campaign.
The site is promoted by Pradeep Shah, one of the founder-directors of CRISIL, India’s largest rating agency. Since its launch in June 2010, Grow-Trees has planted 2,98,336 trees in India at 9 sites across 6 states, including two in Gujarat. Apart from Gujarat, it has plantation sites in Orissa, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The process for the selection of a site where tree plantation is to be carried out is managed by Grow-Trees. However, the actual plantation and care of plants is done by Planting Partners, some NGOs and representatives of the local community.
“We supply to the Planting Partner saplings that are at least six months old. The local community is trained by the partner. We plant only those trees which suit the biodiversity of the site. We charge Rs50 per tree from donors,” said Karan Shah, co-founder and project director, Grow-Trees. “It appeals to the emotions of individuals and corporate to grow trees as a wedding gift, celebrate the birth of a child or celebrate someone’s birthday. Trees can also be donated to mark an anniversary, remember a loved one or offset carbon emission for air travel or automobile usage,” Karan said.
Corporate interest in the venture is overwhelming. Karan said that more than 80 companies had joined the initiative, including SBI Life, Kotak Credit Cards, Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund, FICCI, Kansai Nerolac, Tata Chemicals, Tata Teleservices, and Panasonic.
“Reaching out to individuals is a bit tough. Around 80% of the plantation done so far has been contributed by corporates,” Karan said. He further said that SBI Life plants a tree on the birthdays of its employees or for each subscriber of its Children Insurance policies. “Some other firms plant a tree for those investors or clients who choose to receive a statement in electronic format. FICCI has started gifting a tree to its all speakers at seminars, workshops or other public gatherings,” Karan said. Grow-Trees has completed tree projects in villages of Kotra, Surpur, Kaliyari, Varasada, Panchmahals in Gujarat.